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By DAVID BALLINGRUD
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 24, 2000
Twenty-five years after he walked through the doors of the St. Petersburg Times as green as a would-be journalist can be -- an intern reporter -- Paul C. Tash has been named the newspaper's editor and president.
Andrew Barnes, who held the titles for almost 16 years, said they represent "one of the great opportunities and responsibilities in American journalism."
Tash called his expanded role at the Times "an enormous privilege. . . . My colleagues honor me with their confidence and humble me with their trust. As someone who has been nurtured by this remarkable newspaper, I now feel a particular obligation to preserve its values and enlarge its future."
Barnes remains chairman and chief executive officer of the Times Publishing Co. and will continue to direct the newspaper's editorial policy.
The promotion of Tash continues the expected and gradual shift of power to Barnes' hand-picked replacement. Barnes is 60; Tash, 45.
The promotion has been "in the cards" since Tash was made deputy chairman three years ago, Barnes noted in a prepared statement.
Barnes underwent surgery last summer after doctors diagnosed a small cancer within his prostate gland. But he said Wednesday his health is fine and that he intends to work until he is 65, when company policy requires that senior executives retire.
Until Wednesday, when the Times Publishing Co. board of directors formally approved Barnes' decision, Tash, as executive editor, had responsibility for the newspaper's extensive and award-winning news, features and sports operations.
Now, as editor and president, he adds daily control of the newspaper's business operation to his responsibilities.
Tash acknowledged that managing the business side of the company probably will change his role in the newsroom.
"I probably will not be as directly involved, in as much detail, as before," he said. "But I have great confidence in my colleagues, and I'm satisfied I will continue to play a role in the shaping of the news report."
Barnes said his own priorities for the next four years include a smooth transition of power to Tash, attention to how the company must adapt to new technology, the continued development of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies and his work as incoming chairman of the Newspaper Association of America.
He said the departure last month of Judith Roales, 57, who became the company's executive vice president and general manager in December 1994 and its publisher three years ago, made the timing right to elevate Tash. Upon Roales' departure, Tash assumed the tasks of an interim general manager, supervising the company's circulation, advertising, data services and marketing departments.
Asked if the newspaper would name another publisher, Barnes said that had not been decided. "But," he said, "it would be highly unlikely we would name one in the next four years, when he (Tash) will take over the whole operation, anyway."
Tash was born in South Bend, Ind., and graduated from Indiana University summa cum laude in 1976 with a degree in journalism and political science. He received a Marshall Scholarship and graduated with a bachelor of laws degree from Edinburgh University in Scotland in 1978.
After two summer internships at the Times, he covered local news, then state issues in the newspaper's Tallahassee bureau. Later he served as city editor, metropolitan editor, assistant managing editor and Washington bureau chief. In 1990-91 he served as editor and publisher of Florida Trend, a business magazine owned by the Times Publishing Co.
He was named executive editor in 1992 and was identified as Barnes' choice to succeed him in February 1997, when he was named deputy chairman.
Tash is married to the former Karyn Krayer of St. Petersburg. They have two daughters, Kaley Marie, 14, and Kendyl Barbara, 10.
The Times Publishing Co. also announced Wednesday that advertising director Richard Reeves was named to its board of directors. Barnes praised Reeves for leading his department to record high sales.
In other executive appointments: